WASHINGTON – Matt Bradley didn’t give Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau a chance to say no.
As Boudreau was trying to decide who to put on the ice for the 12th round of a shootout when no one had scored, Bradley made the decision for him. “He just said, ‘I’m going to score, put me out there,’ and he jumped over the board and he went in,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He told me, he didn’t ask.”
Bradley, who had scored two goals all season, was good to his word. He got the puck past Dwayne Roloson after 11 teammates had failed, scoring the only goal of the shootout in Washington’s 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Bradley admitted he might not have felt as confident as he acted.
“I told him, ‘I’ll score, let me go,”‘ Bradley said. “I don’t think either of us actually believed what I was saying.”
After Bradley scored, Olie Kolzig stopped shooter No. 24, Sheldon Souray, in the 12th round to end it.
It was the second-longest shootout in Capitals history. Washington lost 4-3 after a 15-round shootout at the New York Rangers on Nov. 26, 2005.
The Oilers are 11-3 in shootouts this season.
“It’s as deep as I’ve ever been involved in,” said Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff, who had two goals. “We had plenty of chances there to win it, but we just couldn’t.”
Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Mike Green all scored in the third straight game for Washington. Kolzig made 29 saves.
The Capitals scored four goals in the second period, but Horcoff tied it 4-4 7:40 into the third period with his second.
Washington took its first lead when Semin scored a wraparound goal with 52 seconds left in the second period. The lead lasted until Horcoff took a pass from Ales Hemsky and slapped a shot in to tie it.
Horcoff also scored at 8:33 of the first period when he swooped in from the right side to knock in a rebound of Souray’s shot and give the Oilers the early lead.
Robert Nilsson made it 2-0 later in the period with a power-play goal. Nilsson picked off an errant clearing attempt by the Capitals’ Jeff Schultz and knocked it past Kolzig at 13:53.
“I was a little worried at that point,” Boudreau said.
The Capitals wasted no time answering to start the second period, scoring two goals 38 seconds apart and tying the game in the first 1:39.
Nicklas Backstrom scored off a pass from Schultz 1:01 in, then Ovechkin tied it while Washington’s PA announcer was still giving the time of Backstrom’s goal.
Ovechkin fired a shot from the left circle past Dwayne Roloson, who made 28 saves.
Dustin Penner took a crossing pass just outside the crease from Horcoff and put the Oilers ahead 3-2 at 6:49 in the second period, but the Capitals answered again.
Mike Green took a sharp pass across the ice from Ovechkin and scored from the right circle on a 4-on-3 power play at 11:58.
Semin then put the Capitals ahead with 52 seconds left in the period. Semin took the puck from behind the net and wrapped in a goal from the right side to give Washington a 4-3 lead.
As the shootout progressed and the big names failed to score, Bradley started looking around to see when his number might be called.
“I was hoping I got to go before (backup goalie) Brent Johnson went,” Bradley said. “I figured if I can go before him, I’ll be doing OK.”
Bradley decided not to leave it to chance, becoming an unlikely hero. Before he went over the board, his teammates were also looking around, wondering who would get the chance to win it.
“It’s hard to stay focused, because you’re kind of laughing at the same time,” Green said. “Like, ‘Who’s up next?”‘
Notes: Oilers D Joni Pitkanen left the game in the first period with a groin injury and didn’t return. … Edmonton has not won in Washington since Jan. 26, 1997, a six-game losing streak. … The game was the only meeting between Washington and Edmonton this season. … The Capitals are 14-0-1 when leading after two periods.